Tariq Ali says Assad has to go: I’m depressed – no, I’m outraged By William Bowles

15 February 2012

Prequel: I’m going to write a longer piece on this issue, not Ali per se but  on the entire ‘orientalism’ approach that saturates all of us, left and right.

All quotes from, ‘Assad must go to save Syria from intervention’, RT 15 February 2012

Today, I see that the well known ‘revolutionary’ Tariq Ali is telling that:

“He [Assad] has to be pushed out,” Tariq Ali insists, for which “the Syrian people are doing their best”.

Given that all reports indicate that the country is seriously divided over the Assad regime, perhaps without foreign interference the Syrian people could decide for themselves without professional revolutionaries doing it for them. Frankly I’m outraged more than depressed by this.

The entire piece is filled with suppositions and wishful thinking about the nature of the ‘uprising’. So for example Ali tells us that.

“He [Ali] believes that once Assad falls, the new government will keep good relations with Iran, because this will be in the interest of the new democratic government.”

What ‘new democratic government’?

In a classic case of backing a self-fulfilling prophecy, Ali says:

“If the Assad clan refuses to relinquish their stronghold on the country, sooner or later something disastrous will happen,” Tariq Ali predicts, threatening a foreign intervention and recalling the inglorious deaths of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi lynched by mobs inspired by the west.”

Sooner or later? So what’s happening now is not a disaster?

“That is the future that stares them in the face, there is no other future,” Tariq Ali said.”

Talk about throwing in the towel. So why don’t we all roll over and play dead before we actually are?

“He expressed hope that all the most influential parties, like Russia, China, Iran and even Hezbollah must realize that it is time for President Assad to go and to do so, no peacekeeping force is needed.”

So Tariq Ali thinks it’s time for Assad to go. Once more the Western ‘left’ reveals its true colours. Who needs enemies with a friend like this?

As with Libya this not about defending Assad’s regime but about Imperial strategy. It’s about getting rid of the last obstacle to NATO’s expansion eastward and crushing resistance in the Arab world. If Tariq Ali can’t see this, then what has he been doing for the last forty years (except that is, making a living out of being a professional lefty)? As ever it’s the Western intelligentsia telling the rest of the world what to do and how to do it. Shame on you Ali.

10 thoughts on “Tariq Ali says Assad has to go: I’m depressed – no, I’m outraged By William Bowles

  1. Bern says:

    Tariq Ali predicts, threatening a foreign intervention ,,,,
    That a lot of bollocks, to be polite. Actually it’s a bare faced fucking lie.

    He repeated makes it clear he opposes any form of intervention, other than political pressure from ouside, and preferably from Syria’s allies like Russia and China.


    • InI says:

      Then what’s the point of calling for Assad to go? His unfounded belief in some future ‘democratic’ government emerging after the carnage is over? What world does Ali live in? As I said over and over again about Gaddafi, it’s not about these leaders, anymore than it’s for us to call for them to be gone. Clearly we do it by the same ‘right’ that NATO does. and what’s a bare-faced lie? Ali’s or mine?


  2. InI says:

    I have to add, that if the playing field were level, which it ain’t, in Syria, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It’s precisely because of foreign intervention that has brought Syria to this impasse. If Syria were left alone to sort out its problems, which is precisely what Russia and China are calling for, for whatever reasons, then the Syrian people could make their choices.


  3. Bern says:

    It’s evident from the text and quotes you use, that your condemnation of Tariq Ali is based solely on the RT summary, and not on having heard the interview,

    This is a dishonest proceedure, but you seem not to be bothered about that.

    An honest and objective account of the interview could leave no doubt that Ali is

    against western intervention
    opposed to the US puppet Arab League proposes for “peace forces”
    believes that any form of military intervention could only lead to a far worse explosion of violence.
    believes that external political pressure from China and Russia could contribute to a peaceful outcome.
    Yes, he believes that Assad should go, from almost every point of view, but he rejects that that should be brought about by outside military intervention.

    Your claim that minority, sectarian Assad’s regime is the bulwark against US further hegemony in the region is utterly proposterous. You propose it seems that the left should continue to support Assad’s party, with its policy of mass repression, and imprisonment, the phoney constitutional referendem, announced today, which has written into the single party state. the party of Assad and his clan.

    Did you ever hear of a new constitution being legitimately agreed on in 10 days from its publication.

    One can only really view your position as one-domensional. One one side the US, and the other the Syrian regime. The dimension that doesn’t even occur to your is THE PEOPLE. Like so many so called liberal “anti-imperialists”, the people count for little of nothing in your reckoning, and are either incoherent, sectarian, dupes of imperialism, or even their direct agent.

    Only the existing power brokers interest you – nothing much changes unless they say so. Nothing can change without being authorised by the existing power brokers, or by some other elite authority. You doubtless hate the uncertainty, even chaos that occurs when the masses start to try and liberate themselves.


    • InI says:

      Did I ever say that Ali is for Western intervention? No, I did not. That’s not what the issue is about. Evidently you haven’t read me too closely. I read and listened to the complete RT piece and I stand by my views on this. Ali has no business invoking in their name, what the Syrian people should or should not do. I’ve got a much longer piece in the works on this important issue for the left here.


  4. Bern says:

    Of course as I first quoted you, you intended some dummies who might read you to believe Ali was in favour of foreign interventionintended to. And there are plenty of them around, so you’re in good company.

    As for envoking what Syrian should or should not do, I don’t read him that way at all. On the contrary it is yopu and your ilk who absolutely forbid the Syrian to do anything to resist the Assad murder machine. Like a good computer bound, safe, western intellectual, you have your principle s( right or wrong) for which the Syrians should be pleased to be slaughtered.

    Your biggest lie ois of course the smear on the Strians themselves, that their struggle against the Assad clique is a result of western intervention.


    • InI says:

      I intended for people to read it as if I had accused Ali of favouring intervention? I did no such thing! The thought is entirely a product of your own mind. As to the Syrian people ‘resisting the Assad murder machine’, I thought it was absolutely clear whose side I am on. Again, you regurgitate the same accusation you made before, that the Syrian peoples struggle is “the result of foreign intervention”. Where did I say that? Produce it for me please. I’ll ignore your assumptions about who I am, they don’t warrant a response. Thus rather than examining the situation you’d rather insult and defame.


  5. Todd Millions says:

    Tariq Ali was interviewed several times by CBC on a book tour a couple years back-Fascinating as his scholarship may seem-I regard his thoughts as -cloying, since he let slip that,he doesn’t actually know the meaning of-“semite”.Not an uncommon thing amongst the -‘educated’,and me steering them too a dictionary is oft resented. Where, when (and who and how) this mis-definition came into -common occurrence is the real nub.


  6. Fazal Rahman says:

    The following comment was posted under this article on Dandelion Salad. It may be useful to post it here too.

    It is good that someone has exposed the darling of Counterpunch and many other Western “leftist” web sites and publications, for what he really is and has been all along. However, there should be no surprise in Tariq Ali’s position on Syria.

    He is a thoroughly Westernized British citizen of Pakistani origin, has been a Trotskyite, and, like most Trotskyites, anarchists, and ultra-leftists, was attacking the former USSR with ignorant, slanderous, empty, and subjective generalities and accusations, without showing any knowledge of the concrete political economy of the former USSR. Obviously these qualities put him on the same wave lengths with a large number of Western “leftists”. In general, his writings lack depth and objectivity, and tend to be superficial, demagogic, and parasitic. However, a large part of the Western “leftist” media seems to prefer such writers and speakers.

    Another darling of the Znet and other “leftist” media has been Pervez Hoodbhoy, another Pakistani “leftist intellectual”, who has been vilifying the anti-imperialist resistance forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and pleading for their defeat by the US, NATO, and Pakistani militaries.

    Both of these “leftist intellectuals” had completely underestimated the determination, strength, resilience, anti-imperialist and anti-occupation spirit, and guerrilla warfare competence and efficiency of the resistance forces, and were ridiculing, slandering, and mocking them for thinking and acting as if they could confront and take on such incomparably superior and high-tech military forces, as those of the US and NATO. Initially, when the Afghan resistance forces made a strategic retreat, in face of the overwhelming conventional forces of US and Western imperialism, they, like so many others, thought that Afghan resistance was crushed and finished. Obviously they neither knew the Afghan character nor the nature of guerrilla warfare and Afghans’ long historical experience in its strategy and tactics. On the other hand, the great and unmatchable Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, who had lead the Vietnamese resistance forces to victory, against the incomparably superior forces of French and American imperialisms, had predicted that US invaders will lose both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghan resistance forces came roaring back and are now much more powerful, successful, and popular than before their strategic retreat.

    Now that the whole world can see the strength, resilience, and successes of the efficient applications of guerrilla warfare strategy and tactics of the Afghan and Pakistan anti-imperialist and anti-occupation resistance forces, Tariq Ali has started to parasitize and latch on to those, without explaining such a drastic trapeze.

    Like so many other Western “leftists”, his positions are the result of a cunning and clever mind, attempting to maintain a balance between respectability, acceptability, and selling himself and his writings, on the one hand, and a subjective, manipulative, and parasitic “leftism”, on the other. It is a refection of the quality of mass psychology of the left and leftist media in the West that only such Westernized Third World people are allowed publicity.

    Articles in support of the Afghan and Pakistan anti-imperialist resistance are almost non-existent in the “leftist” literature of the West. This author’s article, with the following web link, seems to be an exception in this regard.



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